March 2, 2017 / 8:06 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Italy's Geox expects strong rebound after 2016 profit fall

(Add detail, 2017 forecast)

March 2 (Reuters) - Italian shoemaker Geox is confident of achieving a significant jump in core profit this year, it said on Thursday after posting a 23 percent decline for 2016.

Geox reported full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) had fallen to 47.6 million euros ($50 million), citing higher cost of sales on higher product costs, due in part to increased promotions and the strengh of the U.S. dollar against the euro.

However, the company said that it expects to achieve 2017 EBITDA in line with a company-provided consensus of analyst forecasts of 76 million euros.

The maker of breathable yet waterproof footwear said it plans to continue expanding its wholesale channel, which achieved 5.4 percent growth last year, and its retail network in fast-growing markets such as Eastern Europe, Russia and China.

Sales last year rose 3 percent to 900.8 million euros, below the average growth target of 6.5 percent in its 2016-18 plan. Margins, meanwhile, dropped to 5.3 percent from 7.1 percent, losing ground on its 2018 target of 10-11 percent.

The company proposed a dividend of 0.02 euros per share, down from 0.06 euros the previous year. (Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdynia; Editing by Mark Potter and David Goodman)

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